Making the decision to run your first 1/2 Marathon race is a big deal. Here is your ultimate beginner guide with all the do’s and don’ts to running your first 1/2 Marathon.
So you’re half crazy and decided to run your first half marathon? Welcome to the dark side! But seriously, are you ready for this ride? It will be exhausting, possibly a bit painful, but also it will be so very rewarding.
I have heard some people say (before actually doing it) that running a half marathon is easy… If someone says that to you, one of two things is happening: 1. they are literally a lifetime runner and they have never had the same struggles that we mere mortals have OR 2. They’re lying. Period. Kay? Kay.
Now that we have that out of the way let’s move on to what’s really important. The do’s and don’ts of running your first half marathon. Which, in actuality, most of these can be applied to those of us that have run several half marathons.
Not training for a half but training for a full? Head over to my other post Do’s and Don’ts for Training for Your First Full Marathon.
Let’s start with the don’ts and get the ‘negative’ out of the way!
- DON’T think that you can run 8 miles a week and all of the sudden run 13 on race day. It will not happen unless you are Hercules or Athena the Greek Warrior goddess.
- DON’T start training without a plan and schedule in place. I have officially launched my running coach training store! I offer customized training plans from those that are just beginner runners to my veteran runners as well. Click here to head over to the store to pick out a plan!
- DON’T compare yourself to other runners. This is so hard, believe me, I promise I do understand the comparison game. Just don’t do it. You don’t know their life and they don’t know yours. There are two communities in the fitness world that I have never felt more welcoming and non judgmental. That is the running community and Crossfit community. The fact you’re out there and working towards a goal is awesome! There’s nothing to compare; you do you because I mean lets be real, you are pretty fantastic.
- DON’T buy new shoes right before the race. This may seem like a no brainer but you’d be amazed at how many people I’ve come across that will buy new shoes right before a race. Yikes! If you think that your shoes will be too worn out before race day, go ahead and grab some new shoes at least a month to six weeks before the race to give you a chance to break them in. Not sure what shoes to get? I’ve been running for years and been through the different brands and styles and Brooks Pure flow, hands down is my all-time favorite. You can grab a pair from my friends at Lady Foot Locker by clicking on the below! I have these exact shoes right now and I love love love them. So comfortable and so light and they’re just perfect for running.
Now for the DO’S!
- DO choose a local race if possible for your very first half. Reason for this is so that you can know the race route and train accordingly! My very first half marathon was a course that was full of hills. Had I not trained properly according to the race course, then it would have made for a very difficult race!
- DO remember your water. Yes, carrying a water bottle in your hand for a long run is obnoxious… Been there, done that. Thankfully a brilliant inventor came up with this little jewel. It carries your water for you and keeps your hands free.
- DO increase your caloric intake. Now, I’m not a nutritionist or anything like that but I do know from personal experience and being a coach that I have to have more high quality calories when my miles increase. You have to make the decision on how many based on your personal needs and current diet regime or get in contact with a nutritionist who can help you meal plan should you need very specific diet needs. If you sort of know what you’re doing but still need some tips for fueling yourself for the race, Check out Runner’s World “How to Fuel for a Half Marathon”. They’re my favorite running magazine and have so many great articles.
- DO take good care of your sore muscles. You’re going to be sore and that’s okay! It’s how you handle your sore muscles that makes all the difference. In case you missed my blog “How Muscle Soreness is bringing Sexy Back” here is the link!
- DO find a support system. Support systems could mean having a running buddy or it could mean finding a running club and training with them. Yes, there are such things as running clubs and they are great communities of people! I also have a post on Fitness Accountability Partners which you can read by clicking here “Do You Have Your Exit Buddy?” Why Fitness Accountability Partners are not Lame
Time to Run!
Remember this, even if this is the only half marathon you ever do. You can mark it off your bucket list and move on with the next fitness goal that you have! OR you can be fully crazy and do a full marathon!
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Be on the lookout for races in your area! Fall season is when lots of races happen. Click here to go to USATF to search for races in your area!